That’s according to a new report from Green Alliance, which is calling for more than 1,100 pieces of environmental legislation to be replicated.
The group claims differing environmental standards would create competitive distortions likely to harm trading arrangements and damage the UK’s ability to continue trading freely with the EU.
It stresses the importance of co-operating on ‘ecodesign standards’ so businesses can still sell into the international market and avoid poor quality imports.
It warns failure to do this could undermine domestic businesses, saddle consumers with higher bills and increase energy use.
The organisation says Defra must negotiate full access to EU regulations to protect people and the environment from harmful chemicals – it suggests attempting to create a UK equivalent would be enormously expensive and time consuming.
Green Alliance also believes the UK should co-operate with the European Environment Agency and retain equivalent monitoring and governance standards – if the UK leaves the single market, it will need a new independent regulatory body to ensure compatibility and political independence.
It adds, regardless of what happens with the EU, the UK should introduce new recycling targets, implement mandatory food waste collections and extend producer responsibility to account for the full lifecycle of their products.